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Kimanzi unfazed despite key exits at Mathare

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Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi issues out instructions during a training session at teh Goan Institute on January 30, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi says he is not worried despite the club losing some of its key players in the current transfer window.

Among the players who have left the 2008 Kenyan Premier League champions include midfielder Eric Johannah who will be joining Swedish club Vasalund IF, goalkeeper Robert Mboya and striker Duke Abuya who have signed for Kariobangi Sharks, defender Robinson Kamura and midfielder Whyvonne Isuza who have been lured to AFC Leopards and defender Dennis Orenge who joined second tier side KCB.

“I don’t think we can dwell so much on those who have left because we have an exciting squad of players who are coming in and it is those we will work with. I am confident in their abilities and I know we will do well with them,” Kimanzi said.

“We have a different squad with different strength and the only thing we have to do is build them to a team level,” the coach offered.

The Slum Boys have chosen to go for young blood to fill the gaps with the only experienced players they have signed being midfielder Roy Okal from Ushuru and goalkeeper Levis Opiyo from Western Stima.

The club has promoted four players from their title winning Under-20 team. Defender Martin Ongori, midfielder David ‘Messi’ Owino as well as forwards Ahmad Ahmed and John ‘Mavado’ Mwangi will be part of the senior team roaster in 2017.

Also joining the side are youngsters Tyson Odhiambo (Dandora All Stars), Mark Kioko (Betway Talent Search), Abubakar Keya (Libverty Academy), Elijah Mwanzia (Coast Stima) and Tyson Otieno (Baba Dogo United).

Youngster Tyson Odhiambo shileds the ball away from a team mate during a training session at the Goan Institute on January 30, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Kimanzi is confident the young blood injected into the team will be vital for their campaign and has praised them for gliding into the system remarkably fast. The team played two friendly matches over the weekend, winning 2-0 against a new look Ushuru FC and playing to a 1-1 draw with Ulinzi Stars.

“I am very much impressed because they have integrated so fast into the system as we are only in the fourth week of pre-season training. What they showed against Ulinzi Stars, a team with so much experience is encouraging,” Kimanzi commented.

“You would expect them being young to get run over by Ulinzi but that was not the case. They enjoyed themselves and played very confidently which is something encouraging,” the tactician added.

Mathare finished seventh last season and Kimanzi, one of the best trained coaches in the East and Central Africa region hopes there will be a bigger improvement heading into the new season.

“We need to keep pushing especially in this pre-season because that is what will determine our performance. If we have good preparations then I am sure we will do well. So far I am impressed with what I have seen,” he noted.

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